Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Monitoring Manual

The HELCOM Monitoring Manual is developed to support the implementation of the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy and to follow-up commitments made under Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) for thoseContracting Parties of HELCOM that are also EU Member States. Full background information and general introduction to the HELCOM Monitoring Manual can be found in the  introduction

The Monitoring Manual provides information on existing monitoring programmes and their links to indicators developed to assess progress towards Good Environmental Status (GES). The information is organized along 11 main monitoring programmes or grouped according to 16 thematic programme topics. 40 sub-programmes provide the most detailed information about the monitoring. The level of regional coordination currently varies between topics while it is the ambition to develop HELCOM coordinated monitoring for all programmes.

By 2016, the Monitoring Manual will integrate existing HELCOM manuals and guidelines while at present they are still available in their current form.

In the presentation of sub-programmes there are reocurring annotations e.g. “Q5c”.  These annontations refer to specific questions required for the reporting of monitoring programmes of EU Member States under the MSFD (MSFD reporting package for Article 11).

​Monitoring programme 
Programme Topic​
​Sub-programme MSFD Descriptors
BirdsBirdsMarine breeding birds abundance and distribution

Marine bird health 

Marine wintering birds abundance and distribution
D14
Mammals
MammalsSeal abundance 

Health status ​

Harbour porpoise abundance
D14
FishFish, shellfish and fisheries
Coastal fish

​Migratory fish

Offshore fish ​

Commercial shellfish

​Fisheries bycatch
D134
Water column habitats ​ ​ ​HydrographyWater column hydrological characteristics

​Water column physical characteristics

 ​Ice
D15
Water column habitats ​ Hydrochemistry Water column chemical characteristics 

Nutrients
D15
Water column habitats ​ Phytoplankton Pigments

Species composition, abundance and biomass
D145
Water column habitats ​ Zooplankton Species composition, abundance and biomass D14
​​Seabed Habitats ​ ​Seabed habitat distribution and extent​Habitat-forming species and substrates

Seabed habitat physical characteristics​
D146
Seabed Habitats ​ ​ ​Species distribution and abundance (benthic community)Hardbottom Species ​

Softbottom fauna

Softbottom flora

D146
Seabed Habitats ​ ​ ​Benthic physical loss and damage D146
Non-indigenous species​Non-indigenous species​​Non-indigenous species D2
​Eutrophication ​ ​ ​​InputsNutrient inputs from atmosphere

Nutrient inputs from landbased sources 

Nutrient inputs from seabased sources (no info yet)
D5
Hydrography Water column hydrological characteristics D5
HydrochemistryNutrients D5
PhytoplanktonPigments D5
​Hydrographic changes ​HydrographyWater column hydrological characteristics

​Water column physical characteristics

Ice
D7
Seabed habitat distribution and extent Seabed habitat physical characteristics​ D7
​Contaminants​Inputs​Contaminant inputs from atmosphere

​​Contaminant inputs from landbased sources

​Acute pollution
D8
​Contaminants
Concentrations of contaminants
​Contaminants in water​​

Contaminants in sediment

​​Contaminants in biota
D8

​​Contaminants
Biological effects of contaminants Imposex​ D8
​​Contaminants in seafood
Contaminants in seafood​Contaminants in seafood​ D9​
​LitterLitter​Macrolitter characteristics and abundance-volume-beach litter

Macrolitter characteristics and abundance-volume-floating litter

Macrolitter characteristics and abundance-volume-litter in biota

Macrolitter characteristics and abundance-volume-litter on the seafloor

Microlitter particle abundance and characteristics​
D10
Energy, including underwater noiseUnderwater noise​Ambient noise

Registry of impulsive sounds​ (no info yet)
D11​